, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 13 – The Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko has said he will vigorously prosecute cases related to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) despite charged rebellion by the Maasai community in Kajiado County.
In an interview with Capital FM News, Tobiko who is a Maasai, said for as long as the law prohibiting FGM exists, no person abetting FGM will be exempted from prosecution.
“My duty as prosecutor is to enforce the law, I have no discretion; I have no powers to abrogate legislation that has been enacted by Parliament. For as long as that legislation is there I will enforce it,” he cautioned.
Tobiko was reacting to a mediation meeting held in Kajiado on Thursday between the Maasai community calling for legalisation of FGM and government officials.
The women and men who turned up for the meeting told the government to its face that they will not abandon the cultural practice that they say is important in transition of their girls to womanhood.
Tobiko explained that his office will not be lenient in dealing with people practising FGM based on the harmful effects it has on the girl-child and women, especially when giving birth.
He said Kenya does not only have laws in place but has also signed international conventions that prohibit FGM, hence it cannot listen to excuses of carrying out the cut classified as a dangerous practice.
The women and men calling for legalisation of FGM were further informed that laws cannot be changed because one community is opposed to a national law that protects the girl-child.
Kajiado CDF Chairman John Loisa explained to them that the process of making and changing laws is not marching to Nairobi to demonstrate as they have been planning to do.
“The process is long… laws are guided by the Constitution and laws are made in Parliament. You cannot wake up one day and decided a law is bad for you and expect it to change. Laws have to be followed to the letter,” Loisa said.
He told Capital FM News that he was positive just like other practices among the Maasai have been eliminated, FGM too will ‘die’ since it is a non-beneficial practice that leaves girls and women with indelible suffering.
Earlier in the month, women vandalised shops, roughed up journalists and county leaders whom they accused of fighting their ‘culture.’
Even as the women have threatened to march to Nairobi to call for legalisation of FGM, the government has told them that it will be impossible to ignore the Children’s Act 2001 and the Prohibition of FGM Act.
FGM however continues to be practised despite its criminalisation.
Two months ago, a girl died while undergoing the cut.
Even though the foster parents of the girl are serving a life jail sentence, communities practising FGM are adamant to abandon it.